iTunes has massive lead in digital music sales

Xavier Verhoeven
21 May, 2010
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iTunes is proving the dominant force in digital music distribution, according to a report published by Billboard.

The report claims that iTunes accounted for 26.7 percent of all music sales in the US during 2009. The next best was Walmart, with less than half the sales of iTunes – 12.5 percent. The top five is rounded out by Best Buy, Target, and Amazon in fifth spot at 7.1 percent.

Interestingly, iTunes and Amazon were the only retailers to show a growth in market share since 2008 (they were at 21.4 and 4.9 percent, respectively), which is partially attributable to an increase from 42.5 percent to 50.7 percent of digital music sales. All three physical stores in the top five saw market share drop in this period.

It appears music distribution has just tipped from physical media’s dominance to a digital-preferred market – which bodes well for the future of players like iTunes and Amazon.

When Amazon’s figures are divided, however, it is revealed that the company’s MP3 store had only a 1.3 percent share of the market (up from 0.8 percent in 2008). This is far short of iTunes’ dominance and the Billboard report notes that the results “[dim] earlier expectations that [Amazon] will be able to significantly reduce the labels’ heavy dependence on iTunes for digital sales”.

It’s also worth noting that these results are for the US market alone – iTunes’ share of digital sales is likely amplified worldwide, as Amazon only sells digital music to US customers, whereas the iTunes Music Store is available in 90 countries worldwide.

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